The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to prohibit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from approving genetically modified (GM) salmon for human consumption.

Introduced by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, the measure — which would ban the FDA from using funds in the approval of GM salmon — came as an amendment to an agriculture-spending bill. Young has been outspoken about his opposition of GM salmon since the FDA scientists last September preliminary determined that the GM salmon developed by Waltham, Mass., biotechnology firm AquaBounty Technologies, called AquAdvantage Salmon, is safe for human consumption. (An FDA advisory committee has since determined that more research is needed.)

Immediately after its preliminary approval, several lawmakers criticized the move, including Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who filed a bill that would ban GM salmon outright. The bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Alaska is one of the world’s largest wild salmon producers.

“Frankenfish is uncertain and unnecessary. Should it receive approval as an animal drug, it clears the path to introduce it into the food supply; my amendment cuts them off before they can get that far,” said Young, referring to GM salmon as “Frankenfish” in a press release.

“Any approval of genetically modified salmon could seriously threaten wild salmon populations as they grow twice as fast and require much more food,” he added. “Frankenfish is bad policy all around. I eat Alaskan wild salmon and I support Alaskan wild salmon and I will not allow these fake fish to affect our healthy stocks.” 

The House is expected to pass the farm-spending bill later this week, but the Senate has not weighed in on the issue, according to the Associated Press.


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